THE Assembly today (Tuesday 5 November) backed a motion brought forward by Fisheries Minister Michelle O’Neill to provide a funding scheme for new satellite tracking devices for fishing vessels.
Speaking in support of the motion for the scheme the Minister said: “As part of the requirements of the Common Fisheries Policy fishing vessels over 12 metres in length must fit satellite tracking devices and transmit their position every two hours to the fisheries authorities. This has been a requirement for vessels over 15 metres in length since 2005 and for smaller vessels since 2011. Larger vessels have been using such equipment since 2006 whilst smaller vessels have yet to be equipped.
“In the context of the provision of strategic assistance to the fleet to help it adapt to change, I decided it was appropriate that the Department should fund not just the first time installation for smaller vessels but also the replacement of the older systems on larger vessels. Funding has therefore been secured from Europe for 90% of the cost, with 10% coming from DARD.” The Minister added: “The cost of the systems will be around £1,500 per vessel and this includes reasonable installation costs and a three year warranty. Arrangements have also been put in place to pay the supplier directly once the system is installed, so that vessel owners will not have to pay any money up-front. All the applicants have to do is complete an application form and arrange with the supplier for a suitable date to fit the equipment. “We intend to launch the Scheme on 1 December and complete installation across the fleet by 31 March 2014. I estimate that the final amount of grant awarded under the Scheme will be approximately £200,000. This assistance will be a valuable boost to our fishermen to assist them with the costs of complying with the Common Fisheries Policy.”]]>